Vanessa Kingori, the first woman to lead British Vogue in its 105-year history pivots to Google UK

BY Preta Peace Namasaba February 15, 2024 12:51 PM EDT
Vanessa Kingori. Photo credit: University of Portsmouth

Vanessa Kingori wears many hats. She is a journalist, a fashionista and now a tech executive. She made history as the first Black publisher for Condé Nast Britain and the first woman publishing director in British Vogue’s 105-year history. In a spectacular career leap, Kingori recently became Google’s managing director of tech, media and telecoms for the UK.

She credits having to adapt so much at an early age for helping her embrace change. Kingori was born in Kenya, educated on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts and then permanently relocated to London. She graduated with a degree in management and sociology but was unsure of what to do and how to merge her interests in business in fashion.

“With the wonderful thing that is hindsight, I’ve realised it’s okay to be intuitive. It’s actually great to lean into your differences rather than try to push to assimilate too much,” Kingori said about how her uniqueness helped her stand out professionally.

While working in events management, Kingori was connected with a contact at the Evening Standard who offered her a job. She went from working as an advertising intern for sales to leading the launch of the paper’s first glossy magazine, ES Fashion, in four years. Kingori then left the newspaper to become the fashion manager of Hearst UK’s Esquire magazine. She was awarded salesperson of the year for Hearst’s global team, opening the way for more lucrative opportunities.

She moved on to British GQ where she served as Associate Publisher of Fashion for GQ Style UK. A leader by all accounts, Kingori took the bi-annual special from a quiet supplement to a highly profitable publishment. She made history in 2015 when she was appointed publisher of British GQ, becoming the youngest and first woman to hold the role and first Black publisher for Condé Nast Britain. She was pivotal in doubling digital revenue and leading the successful relaunch of the mobile-first GQ website.

Continuing on her trailblazing journey, Kingori made history in 2017 as the first woman in British Vogue’s 105-year history to serve as publishing director. In her first year, she led the team to its most successful digital revenue in its 30-year history. She also maintained British Vogue’s large print revenue and led the team to an increase of 750 percent in profits year-on-year for British Vogue events. Due to her successful business strategy, Kingori’s role was expanded to support the Vogue brand across Europe as Vogue Business European Advisor.

Vogue’s unprecedented revenue growth and profitability during her tenure prompted Conde Nast Britain to specifically create the Chief Business Officer for Kingori. She led the business’ full portfolio and its ten market-leading brands which include Vogue, GQ, Wired, Vanity Fair, and Glamour, among others. Kingori immediately restructured the commercial organization from brand selling to a category and audience sales model. Within only one year, Condé Nast Britain’s revenue was up by 27 percent.

In an ultimate power move, Kingori recently moved from the legacy media titan to tech giant Google. She is now at the forefront of helping UK-based businesses drive growth through AI-powered technology and advertising solutions as Google’s managing director of tech, media and telecoms (TMT) for the UK.

About her move to tech, Kingori said: “We are living through an inflection point that will undoubtedly continue to evolve every business, career, and our lives more generally. The lure of pivoting my career to apply my love of positive, transformational leadership at this key moment of change at Google feels urgent and is a dream realized.”

An expert at leveraging technology for unprecedented growth, Kingori is the right person to bolster how businesses harness innovation to transform their operations, expand into new markets, and achieve growth.